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Mary McLeod Bethune Education’s Champion.

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1 Mary McLeod Bethune Education’s Champion

2 Mary McLeod Bethune Born near Mayesville, South Carolina
While her parents and relatives had to deal with slavery by the time Mary had been born in 1875 slavery had ended. African Americans didn’t go to school with white children. As a child she was told that she couldn’t read a book by a white child. She promised herself that some day she would learn to read.

3 Mary McLeod Bethune Soon after this experience a school was started for African Americans. Mary remembered how she felt when she was told that she couldn’t read. She worked hard to prove that the girl was wrong.

4 Mary McLeod Bethune The school didn’t have a building. They had to meet in a church. By the time she was 15 she had learned all she could at her school. She was one of the few people in her community who could read. She helped her older brothers and sisters learn things too.

5 Mary McLeod Bethune Her teacher visited her family and felt that Mary should go to high school. She was offered a spot at a school in Concord, North Carolina. The school was called Scotia Seminary. Mary jumped at the chance to go to school again. Scotia Seminary

6 Mary McLeod Bethune The whole community was so excited for Mary that they stopped work to see her off. She had to go on a train from Mayesville to Concord. Mary had never been on a train before.

7 Mary McLeod Bethune Her school was a big brick building which Mary thought was fancy. She had never been in one before. In fact her whole school was fancy with a bed all to herself and knives and forks. Mary had grown up in a simple wood cabin and she wasn’t used to all these things.

8 Mary McLeod Bethune Since she wasn’t used to this type of life she often made mistakes. She didn’t let those mistakes stop her from working hard. She wanted to help others and she did by helping the teachers clean their clothes and also by baking cakes and breads.

9 Mary McLeod Bethune She was on the debate team: a team that competes by making arguments for or against an idea. Since she listened and encouraged the other girls she was soon seen as a leader. After she finished going to Scotia she went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. She wanted to become a Missionary. She wanted to go to Africa to be a Missionary but the churches didn’t send African Americans.

10 Mary McLeod Bethune She was sad that she couldn’t go but realized that children could use her help here in the United States. She decided to become a teacher. She taught at a school called the Haines Institute in Augusta, Georgia. It was a school for African Americans and the founder of the school, Lucy Laney, helped Mary a lot. Lucy Laney

11 Mary McLeod Bethune Mary wanted to start a school of her own.
She decided to start one in Daytona Beach, Florida. She started one there because there were so many African Americans living there. There were not enough schools there to help them.

12 Mary McLeod Bethune Despite having only $1.50 Mary worked long and hard (diligence). People in the community helped Mary by donating clothes, supplies, and their talents to help her school get started. When it opened in 1904 there were only 5 students. By 1906 it had 250 students. She helped all learners: girls, boys, and even adults.

13 Mary McLeod Bethune There wasn’t enough space so Mary had to find more. She had to work hard to earn money to buy more land. She asked the community and rode down dusty roads to churches and clubs for help. Even if she didn’t receive money she didn’t give up. Her school grew and grew and in 1931 became a college.

14 Mary McLeod Bethune Mary knew the importance of working together. She got people to come together to help African American women. The clubs were made up of volunteers: people who chose to help in their communities without getting paid. In 1924 Mary became president of a group of African American women who came from all over the United States.

15 Mary McLeod Bethune Segregation was still active during this time and white women couldn’t sit with African American women. During the 1920’s she was asked by President Coolidge and President Hoover to come to meetings of leaders who wanted to help children. She understood their authority and agreed to come. Coolidge Hoover

16 Mary McLeod Bethune At the end of the 1920’s the depression hit. Many people were without money and jobs. Franklin Roosevelt helped people during this time with creating programs to help people earn money (The New Deal). One program was the National Youth Administration (NYA) which gave jobs to young adults and teenagers.

17 Mary McLeod Bethune Eleanor Roosevelt had met Mary and knew she wanted justice for all African American young people. Eleanor told Franklin about Bethune and she was asked to work for the NYA. She was given the most responsibility of any African American at this time. She moved to Washington, D.C. to help make sure the NYA was helping African Americans.

18 Mary McLeod Bethune Thanks to the NYA many young African Americans got jobs which helped their families. In 1941 Bethune-Cookman College became a four year college. Students could study all kinds of things. When the United States went to war in 1941 many people who had worked in the NYA had training which they used to help make equipment for the war. Mary was proud of all the things that she had done to help so many people.

19 Mary McLeod Bethune Bethune won many awards. Many universities and organizations in the United States honored her hard work for freedom and justice. She received the Medal of Honor and Merit from Haiti in 1949. She also got to go to Africa in While in Liberia she was awarded the Star of Africa Award.

20 Mary McLeod Bethune Bethune died in 1955.
Her college just celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2004. Her group, the National Council of Negro Women, is still at work. In 1974 Bethune was honored with a statue in D.C. in a public park the first women and the first African American to do so.

21 Mary McLeod Bethune She worked hard for the youth of the United States. A famous quote “All my life I have lived for youth, I have begged for them and fought for them and lived for them. . . My story is their story.”

22 Character Traits Diligence: Mary showed this by working so hard for so many years to build a school. Respect for and Acceptance of Authority: Mary showed this by doing what the President wanted her to do. Justice: Mary wanted everyone to be treated fairly and have a chance to succeed.

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